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NW PA Fishing Report

February 14, 2012
Darl Black , Ohio Valley Outdoors

NW PA Fishing Report, Feb. 14, 2012

Sponsored by: PA Great Lakes Region and Black Knight Industries Home of Gamma Line

The information in the NW PA Fishing Report is based on the observations and opinions of

Article Photos

Tyler Walters with a French Creek musky. Photo by Dustin Shay

individuals at the reporting tackle shops and expert area anglers. The information is relia-

ble however it is not independently verified.

If you have current fishing information or a picture of your catch from one of the waters in the counties of

Fact Box

Pymatuning Lake

Dave Richter (Richter's General Store): "Even with the onset of very cold temperatures over the weekend, the lake remains open it was too windy to have ice set up. Last weekend I launched my boat and joined a number of other boat anglers out on the lake!

Crawford, Erie, Mercer or Venango that you would like to share, please send it to Darl Black at In providing a picture, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Re-


French Creek Meandering through Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Venango counties

Editor's note: One week ago, French Creek was completely ice free, and at suitable level for fishing. However with heavy snow and cold temps over the weekend, on Monday morning the creek was pushing icy slush. Continued cold will create more edge ice, but mid 40 degree temps and rain later in week may open it back up for the weekend. Also, a February 5th story in the Erie Times News verified the rumor of a large musky taken from French Creek; Joe Soliwoda landed a 51-incher in December. - DB

Dustin Shay (Meadville) and friends were hitting French Creek a week ago when the weather was incredibly nice, and scoring impressive smallmouths. "Every day that I've been out, I've caught smallmouth. One day I had nine big smallmouths with the largest one 22 inches. These February bass are coming from 2 to 3 feet of water over mud bottoms. I'm catching them on a 1/8-oz hair jig, letting it sink slowly. We are also picking up some walleyes, and occasional pike or musky. The walleyes are on the edge of mud flats."

Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) reports that he fished French Creek on February 9th, catching a few small walleyes and a mudpuppy on live creek chubs.


Allegheny River

Editor's note: Just as French Creek was wide open a week ago, so was the Allegheny River until February 12. Now, like French Creek, the Allegheny flow is slushy and ice-chunk laden. A little warm up could easily open it back up.

Mike Horrobin (Jigger Wholesale Tackle): "Fishing recently has been rather remarkable given the time of year. The Allegheny is fishing well for walleyes. Anglers are having success with hair jigs, curly-tail jigs and live bait. Pink seems to be the ticket some days and chartreuse on other days. The tackle classes at the Jigger shop on Georgetown Road are going well and students report having a good time.

Steve Udick (Oil City): "I fished the Allegheny River on February 4 with air temperature in the high 30s. I caught a big female walleye right at dark on a Rapala SR7 Shad Rap. River levels had dropped below 8 feet and there is some room to walk the shoreline. The walleye was in 3 to 4 feet of water; water temperature was 37 degrees."

Justus Lake

Mike Horrobin (Jigger Tackle): "Trout fishing at Two Mile is very good since the PFBC dumped fish into the lake this past week. A friend of mine reported 50 anglers one morning chasing trout at the lake and doing reasonably well. A few anglers are hitting the streams and catching trout, too."


Pymatuning Lake

Dave Richter (Richter's General Store): "Even with the onset of very cold temperatures over the weekend, the lake remains open it was too windy to have ice set up. Last weekend I launched my boat and joined a number of other boat anglers out on the lake! One day I limited out on walleye and the following day I caught two legal 'eye plus several short ones. Anglers continue to catch a few walleye in the Shenango River below the dam, but it seems hit and miss."

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): "Not much happening on the north end of the lake. A few guys have been in for bait, but they did not check back with me as to whether they caught fish or not."

Editor's Note: With walleyes beginning to move for the spring spawn, there should be continually increasing numbers of walleye milling around the current flow at the Linesville Spillway. - DB

Woodcock Creek Lake

Joe Arnett (USACE Woodcock Manager); report provided prior to snow cover this past weekend: "I just got back from a walk on part of the lake bottom. We have a very unique situation in that the pool level is down to winter pool AND there is no snow/ice. Usually the ice and snow covers the bottom features during the winter. My point is that right now is a great time to take a walk around the lake. A dedicated individual could GPS every rock pile, stump and break! I was surprised to find certain features of the bottom terrain. Also, I hear that small walleyes are being caught in the outflow area on various baits/jigs."

Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton): "French Creek was not kind to me this past week but the Woodcock Dam outflow was. Using live bait, one day I caught eight walleyes and lost four; I dropped one at the bank that was over 20 inches. Many of the fish being caught are just short of legal. I was using a bobber and minnow to keep from snagging bottom. One fellow up by the wall was using crankbaits; he caught 8 keeper walleyes in the 16 to 18 inch range. My fishing buddy PJ caught a 30" musky, and lost three other muskies."

Editor's note: I stopped by the Woodcock Outflow on Thursday, February 9. One angler had five keeper walleyes at his feet. Another reported that walleye catches have been pretty good since the first of the year but some days they bite and some days they do not. He also mentioned that numerous small muskies are caught almost every day but nothing legal size. DB

Canadohta Lake

Jerry VanTassel, Sr. (Timberland Bait and Tackle): "As of Sunday, February 12, we have 4 to 6 inches of ice on Canadohta Lake and anglers are all over the lake. Anglers were buying bait like crazy, but no one has stopped back with a catch report. We are still planning to hold the Canadohta Ice Fishing Tournament this coming Saturday, February 18. The Conneaut Lake Ice Fishing Tournament remains up in the air."

Sugar Lake

Editor's note: During my morning coffee break at a Cochranton restaurant, a Sugar Lake resident local said there were half a dozen guys ice-fishing on Sugar Lake but the ice was not very thick. -DB

Tamarack Lake

Editor's note: As of Monday, 2-13, the ice was not safe on Tamarack. There were wide areas of open water and no signs of anyone venturing out on the weak-looking ice cover. However, based on tracks in the snow, it appeared someone over the weekend attempted to enter the ice at the south end and got a wet, cold foot in the attempt. -DB

Conneaut Lake

Editor's note: Conneaut was completely ice free on February 5. This past weekend, some of the lake skimmed over with ice, but nowhere near being safe. -DB

Trout streams

Bill Logan (Pleasantville) reports catching three brown trout from Caldwell Creek earlier this month.


Presque Isle Bay

Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait Erie): "Nothing to report this past weekend. Snow kept everyone inside. There is some skim ice here and there, but absolutely nothing safe to go out on. Prior to the snow, anglers had been catching perch in the Yacht Club basin and along the Liberty Park wall. Anglers in boats were catching crappies in the Stink Hole."

Marilyn Black (Cochranton): "Last Sunday, Darl and I visited with anglers on the marina wall at Liberty Park. There were 20 to 25 individuals on the wall, with everyone catching perch. Of course some were catching a lot more than others; several anglers had a bucket full of perch. Some of those perch were of impressive size; the biggest one I saw was taken by Thomas Watral. Emerald shiners were being used by everyone. There were several small boats out on the Bay. Not a lick of ice was visible anywhere on the Bay."

Thomas Watral (Erie): "This past week has been slow in the marina at Liberty Park. Most of the hits are coming in the morning, and fish catching slows down around noon. But the perch being caught are 11 to 12 inches coming on perch rigs baited with minnows. Water Works Ponds are stocked with around 800 trout, and these fish are hitting anything you throw at them. The best baits are minnows and Roster Tail Spinners in red or yellow."

Erie Tributaries

Matt Hyrcyk (Poor Richards): "Nothing to report. The slack water areas on all tributaries froze over during the weekend. They had been catching a few steelheads in the upper sections of the streams, but all that has come to an end until we get a thawmaybe later in the week with nearly 50 degree temps and rain forecastcould open the streams for the weekend."

Edinboro Lake

Marilyn Black (Cochranton): "We drove by Edinboro Lake last Sunday returning from Erie. One small corner of the lake near the cemetery apparently had thick enough ice to support a handful of fishermen. A father and son were coming off the ice with a bag full of bluegills and perch."


Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergie's Bait): "No safe ice and no one fishing at Wilhelm. What a weird winter. With a warm up again mid-week and the longer days, there may not be time left for Wilhelm to freeze."

Shenango Lake

Editor's note: Shenango was completely ice free a week ago when I drove across the Rt. 18 causeway. With the water level down and no snow cover, it was a perfect time to line up exposed bottom cover, either taking photos or with a GPS. A group of stumps on an otherwise barren flat can be a key site to hold bass or big crappies when the water rises. However, snow now covers the exposed lake bottom. -DB

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop) reports that anglers are catching a few trout when water level and water color are right. But with the repeated thaws, the creek is going up and down, and varies from muddy to clear. Bob says, "Don't forget the pre-season trout stocking on March 3 I need volunteers. And don't miss the Lunker stocking & Rod Raffle on March 10."

Bulletin Board

Monthly Free Fly-tying Classes; 2nd Tuesday; 6 PM to 7:30 PM; 814-590-1366 at

Farrell's Hook, Line & Stitch (At the Bank Mall) , Meadville

Weekly Free Lure-Making & Fly Tying Classes; Every Saturday; 6 PM to 8 PM;

Jigger Wholesale on Georgetown Road; info at

Weekly Fly Tying Class, Tuesday evening; 724-533-3212

Neshannock Creek Fly Shop, Volant

Feb 18 Canadohta Ice Fishing Tournament; 814-694-3474

Feb 25 Conneaut Lake Ice Fishing Tournament; 814-694-3474

March 10 Neshannock Creek Fly Shop Lunker Stocking and Rod Raffle

Call 724-533-3212 for information



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